How Can Brands Thrive In 2016

Sylvia Vaquer

3 takeaways from Digiday’s Brand Summit

The last week of April, Digiday welcomed several of the top brands, marketers and industry experts to its Brand Summit at Key Biscayne to discuss how to build and sustain successful brands in an era when emerging technologies have triggered rising consumer expectations. Companies of all sizes shared their biggest pain-points regarding brand-building, which included staying relevant, data paralysis and agility. Content creators, data-driven strategists and social media gurus all shared insights into rapidly changing consumer trends, evolving media platforms, redefining success metrics and improving processes of collaboration. Action-packed and fun-filled with an 85ºF sunny backdrop, here are 3 takeaways from Digiday’s Brand Summit:

Redefine your brand with customer experience at its core

The rise of smartphones and social media has fundamentally changed consumer behavior and expectations. Mobile is reshaping how people discover and consume content, shifting from traditional media channels and the web to messaging apps. Users expect brands to meet them where they are and be accessible 24/7. When these expectations are not met, consumers, empowered by social media, let brands know. And nothing in marketing matters more than consumer sentiment and perception.

For brands to be (and stay) relevant, they must internalize that brand strategy manifests as experience: put people at the core. Commit to the customer and to bringing the strategy to life through a smart and radically simple user experience. To be poised for success, brands must:

  • Have a strong sense of self — Define strategic pillars that exemplify what the brand stands for
  • Know the customer: Dive into data-powered insights to understand their behavior and motivations
  • Reevaluate the customer journey and optimize it to better serve their real and emotional needs at every touchpoint
  • Be agile, engaged and willing to experiment

Redefine what ROI means and measure impact accordingly

Gone are the days where the ‘R’ in ROI always correlates to sales. As the customer path-to-purchase has evolved from the linear funnel to the circular advocacy loop, so must the ways in which brands track and measure success across their marketing initiatives. Depending on where in the path your customer is — discover, inform, convert, advocate — and what is the goal of the marketing initiative, the ‘R’ could stand for retention, acquisition, awareness, engagement, sales, retention-rate or an increase in life-time value.

Tame the village: improve collaboration internally and externally for increased agility

From internal buy-in to the problematic agency model, brands struggle to achieve true collaboration across many stakeholders, which hinders speed-to-market. For increased agility, brands must improve their processes of collaboration and establish a network of partners that range from agencies, to data tools, to content creators (owned, co-created and earned) and media/publishers/distribution channels. For better collaboration, brands must:

  • Align the vision and clearly define success metrics with all stakeholders
  • Institute clear process, including roles and responsibilities
  • Effectively communicate and get real knowledge transfer throughout the team members, particularly among those doing the day-to-day job of pushing a project forward who must have real understanding of goals and tasks to achieve those
  • Provide a timeline that outlines a set period of time to allow stakeholders to speak now or forever hold their peace
  • Empower collaborators and foster a sense of ownership, honoring their input and vested interest

Emerging platforms and technologies, changing trends of consumption and rising consumer expectations are all realities with which brands must cope in order to succeed nowadays. Keeping customers needs squarely in focus, fostering a highly collaborative ecosystem and the willingness to question and redefine assumptions company-wide (like the ‘R’ in ‘ROI’) are essential for brand success in 2016.

These are just a few of the learnings from Digiday’s Brand Summit. For more detailed insights on this Summit and upcoming Summit’s on the horizon, follow @Svaquer8 on Twitter. And kudos to Digiday for putting together a phenomenal event.

May 27, 2016

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